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Yellow Wiggle Emma Watkins opens up about her divorce from Purple Wiggle Lachie Gillespie

In the wake of her shock split from co-star Lachie Gillespie, the Wiggle opens up about what led to the end of their two year marriage.
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It’s been a rough year for Yellow Wiggle, Emma Watkins. Not only has her divorce from co-star and Purple Wiggle Lachie Gleespie been highly publicised, but the children’s entertainer has also been recovering from surgery for acute endometriosis.

But in a television exclusive, Emma, along with her family, colleagues and ex-husband, opens up to the ABC on Australian Story about her life, especially the unexpected challenges that arose in the last 12 months.

Emma Watkins’ childhood

Emma was a dancer from an early age.

From an early age, Emma was two things: determined and a dancer.

“Emma as a child was always very busy, very driven. She sort of demanded a caesarean because she wanted to be out early,” says her mum, Kathryn Watkins.

“Emma’s got this crazy drive. She’s just on a different level to anyone that I know,” adds sister Hayley Watkins.

Even Emma herself admits she was a “bossy child” and would try to get everyone involved with some sort of street dance concert every weekend.

In fact, that love of dance earned her a high school scholarship to the McDonald College of Performing Arts. But after an accident when Emma was in year 10 led to some big changes.

“We just got so excited that my leg completely missed the ground and I came flat down on my coccyx,” says Emma.

“They found that there was a small crack in the base of her spine. It meant that she had to leave off dance for quite some time,” Emma’s father Richard Watkins says.

Emma had to stop dancing for a year, which is a long time for a performing arts student, and it took a toll on her mental wellbeing.

“We very quickly decided that she had to move into another form of performance activity. And she took up film-making. She embraced film making very, very quickly and won a scholarship to Sydney Film School for a year,” says Richard.

How Emma Watkins became the first female Wiggle

In 2012, Emma became the first ever female Wiggle.

Like many Aussie kids, Emma grew up with the iconic band that is The Wiggles.

“The Wiggles are 27 years old and I’m 28. So I think most of my childhood was filled with Wiggles.”

Shortly after film school, Emma went on numerous auditions but would never get through. That was until she got an audition for The Wiggles as a ballet dancing fairy for the Dorothy the Dinosaur show.

Wiggles manager Paul Field says she stood out.

“And over the years, you can pretty much very quickly see the can-do people. I reckon I could tour. So she ticked all the boxes.”

Whilst on tour, Emma mentioned her video skills and after seeing her talent behind and in front of the camera, Wiggles creator Antony Field wanted her as a Wiggly dancer.

But in 2012 when three members of the original Wiggles line-up, Greg, Jeff and Murray retired, Emma had the shock of her life when she was offered the role.

Fellow Wiggle Antony Field says, “Emma is number one. She’s the Elvis of The Wiggles. You look into the audience, 60, 80 per cent of the children are dressed like Emma.”

Emma Watkins and Lachie Gillespie’s relationship

Lachy and Emma’s tied the knot in 2016.

For Emma and Lachlan, the chemistry was there from the get-go when they met in 2010 whilst touring.

“We had the best conversation and I just remember going home that night on a total high and I wrote two little songs about goats, which I know she loves. I sent them to her on the little voice memo on the phone and she loved them and that was where the friendship really started, which was so lovely. I knew instantly that we were going to get on and have a really fun time,” says Lachlan.

The couple tried to keep their relationship under wraps in the early days, someone even rang the office to say that they’d been spotted holding hands.

“I remember feeling sick and then we had to kind of come out with a line that we were together,” says Lachie.

When Lachlan was ready to pop the question, he even sought approval from Anthony!

Emma and Lachlan tied the knot in Bowral in the NSW Southern Highlands in April 2016 surrounded by their friends and family in a picture-perfect wedding.

READ NEXT: Does Emma really wear a wig? She finally reveals the truth!

Emma Watkins’ endometriosis

Emma Watkins, Yellow Wiggle

Emma has been open and honest about her endometriosis battle.

At the beginning of the year, Emma was diagnosed with endometriosis, a condition where tissues similar to the lining of the uterus grow outside the uterus that can create a lot of pain and even lead to infertility. that affects one in 10 Australian women.

But for a long time, Emma ignored the symptoms that were getting progressively worse until her diagnosis.

“About a year or so after the wedding I started feeling really tired and run down. I started to have bleeding every day. However, when you’re on the tour and when you travel so much, your cycle goes out of whack and so I think initially when the bleeding started to continue I just thought maybe I was really in tune with other women. And so I thought that my cycle was just hopping on to other people’s. I thought, “Oh, well, I like that girl – hop on to her cycle.” And I honestly … I just didn’t think that much of it.”

Despite collapsing and being in so much pain, Emma’s hectic schedule meant that she kept putting off seeing the doctor. But once she received her diagnosis that she had stage four endometriosis (the most severe kind) and take a break from touring, Emma used her status to help empower and educate the masses about her condition.

“Once I’d seen the interview with Emma on Today I told her that she’d done more for endometriosis in one interview than I’ve done in my last 20 years.” says surgeon, Professor Jason Abbott.

READ MORE: The secret weapon that helped Emma Wiggle with her endometriosis.

Why Emma Watkins and Lachie Gillespie divorced

“It was a mutual decision and we wanted to wait until the end of the year and then try and work out a way to make a statement to our fans.”

It took a long time for Emma to recover post-surgery and during that time, she started to reevaluate how she was feeling emotionally as well as physically. This ultimately led to a separation between her and her husband.

“We started to spend more time with our families, and that started to become quite a priority for us. I think there was a realisation that romantically it just wasn’t going the way that our friendship was going,” the Yellow Wiggle explains.

“We’re very different, Emma and I. We’re very … I think I’m the more romantic one. She’s very much down the line and she just … she’s got her own way of doing things,” says Lachlan.

Over the course of around eight months, Emma and Lachlan naturally drifted apart.

“It was a mutual decision and we wanted to wait until the end of the year and then try and work out a way to make a statement to our fans,” says Emma.

But despite the media scrutiny, Emma and Lachlan still have a lot of love for each other.

“Emma and I from the very get-go have had such a beautiful connection and I think it’s not a fluke that she’s the most popular, at all. She does everything with so much love and it’s awesome,” says Lachlan.

“The media does doubt our affection for each other and they won’t write about that. But we genuinely care about each other and we have been through all of this together. Out of everybody, the only person that really gets me is Lachy.”

“This has been one of the strangest years and it has been tumultuous but the truth is that Lachy and I love each other and we’ll be in each other’s lives for the rest of our life. And so I think that makes us feel quite calm.”

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